Bildung through films: How to discuss existential questions in academia

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Much has been written on the future of the academy within Europe. Raising questions about the ongoing aims of the university, critical authors have argued in favour of old but sometimes forgotten values such as 'critical thinking' and ' Bildung '. Joining such voices, this paper argues that one way to achieve the ideal of Bildung is through the use of films with 'existential themes', such as Rolando Colla's film 7 Giorni (7 Days, 2016). I explore how films may contribute to the realization of the ideal of Bildung, and how an education based upon such films might be constructed. In doing so, I refer to the work of Paul Ricoeur on the 'hermeneutical arc', and apply the method of 'moral case deliberation' in interpreting the existential dimensions in film. Ultimately, I hope this article will serve to assist other university lecturers in exploring how Bildung may be realized in higher education settings through watching and analysing films.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-144
Number of pages11
JournalFilm Education Journal
Issue number2
Early online date28 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Bildung; narrative understanding; narrative rationality; moral case


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